I only got to go on a few Boy Scout camp outs as a kid because most of them we two-nighters. Being a preacher's kid, it wasn't cool to miss church. I even drove home from my Saturday night senior prom night because we had church that next morning. Thats another story, back to Boy Scouts!
So...I was a young Tenderfoot (rank) in the Gator patrol (cooking buddies) and one of our activities was learning how to navigate in the woods by compass. In the biz its called "orienteering." The idea was to establish your location based on a few known objects around you, find north, determine where you want to go, then get a "fix" by determining the number of degrees off north and staying on course. There was a thingy on top of the compass I remember turning and then setting off through the woods with my patrol. It was really manly. I also got my "totin' chit" on the same camp out. Once you got that badge you could carry a knife...manly again.
I flashed back to those moments while recently reading Psalm 104. I was struck by huge and lofty language the author uses to describe the Lord's work and ways. In it we see Him clothed in light, setting the earth on its foundations, making the clouds his chariot, shaking mountains with his voice, providing for every animal, giving mankind something to cultivate, moving the moon around to mark seasons, and bringing about the setting and rising of the sun to mark the days. Pretty massive I would say. What a view of God!
The author finally gets to it in verse 24 "How manifold are your works!, In wisdom you have made the all." Again in 33 he declares a response "I will sing to the Lord as long as I live, May my meditation be pleasing to you, bless the Lord, oh my soul!" In other words. He can't get over it! My thoughts are also in line with the Psalmist. If we get a true HD picture of God's position, power, and purposes, everything changes. A lot has been said about finding "true north" over the years. Taking that thought a step farther, I will submit we are absolutely in orbit around God. Whether we admit it or not in the deepest places of our heart, He is still the center. Who we really are is found in that sacred journey "in", "to", and "through" Him. My "super important life" based on my wants and perceived needs melts in view of the greater movements of God. It is my opinion that the deeper we see Him as center, the less important my concerns become.
Are you lost? Do you need to reorient your life around God's massive story? Take some time and get into Psalm 104, then hold up all those things that are important to you. It is truly a marvelous mystery how he can hold all things together and still be aware of "all our thoughts from afar." True north is so helpful in finding our next step in his will. Realizing we are a satellite revolving around Him alone can wreck us. So, where are you in this great big world?
I'm busy. I bring it on myself. I know I do it. It is all a part of being a recovering control freak. Sometimes my intentions are good, sometimes they are self serving and strive to satisfy the people pleaser that seems to live just below the surface. In the battle of flesh and spirit, I willingly choose to meet a creative "need" rather than choose to replenish my soul.
Some would argue that meeting a creative needs IS replenishing the soul. I would submit, that your "need" can also contribute to the pile of clutter in your heart. In my attempt to produce, I neglect the essential things that are calling for my immediate attention. That's called procrastination...
This brings us again to to Proverbs 27.7:
"One who is full loathes honey, but to the hungry, everything bitter is sweet"
Massimo and Lella Vignelli are a husband and wife design duo from Italy. Their contributions to to the design world and popular culture throughout the past 4 decades cannot be overstated. Their work includes the iconic way finding design of the NYC subway system an branding for Bloomingdales, American Airlines, and IBM (see more here) I'm a particular fan of their designs, not because of what they INCLUDE, but because of what they EXCLUDE. Their modernest approach seems to breath somehow. The Vignelli's mastered the art of the use of Helvetica font and negative space in their work. For our purposes, we will say that they helped pop culture embrace some much needed "white space."
I often make the mistake of trying to include everything. God is calling me to something deeper. He is calling us to be so full in Him, that we can actually say no to the useless clutter that might fill our days. Notice how Solomon uses this compact phrase about plenty and want as a depiction of our hearts. The last thing we want when we are full is more food. As I have said before, being full allows us to push away from the table, our appetites curbed, and say: "no thanks, I'm good."
The warning for me today is to find space for the thing tat is most important: to be filled by Him! Where is your white space? When is the moment in the day where you deliberately fill your tank? Don't go hungry! Don't clutter your life with useless "add-ons." Aim for time in the margin with him. I promise you, the design and shape of your life will open up and you will more easily be able to keep things clean.
Everybody is from someplace else. Obviously, being here is not necessarily where you are from. Where you are from, doesn't necessarily dictate where you are. Confusing right?
Let me give you some of my names: I'm a Mauk, a Crosslander, an Owens, a Martin, a Beavers, a Bagwell, and a Smith. I'm a fine blend of 5th generation immigrant from exotic places like England, The Netherlands,...and Alabama. My relatives passed through Delaware, Pennsylvania, Ellis Island, and Chicago on their way south where I was born in Houston. In 1682, part of my family sailed over with William Penn to help colonize the new world. It all sounds glorious doesn't it? Like any story, there are inglorious parts too: alcoholism, illegitimate kids, and untimely deaths leading to orphaned kids, and probably some unmentionable behavior my living relatives don't want to talk about at Christmas. The point is, I'm a mix of all that stuff.
So, the questions is, does the narrative affect my daily life? The answer is, not that I know of. Sure, my Punnet Square tells me what I look like in the mirror. If behavioral traits are passed down, I'm shaped by those. If preferences and tendancies color my decisions, well, I guess I'm following in the same ruts my family has for centuries.
A revolution in our thinking can happen when we face where our real citizenship lies. Pauline doctrine helps the believer to anchor their "citizenship" in heaven. (Phil 3.20) He was appealing directly to the Roman idea of belonging. Christ-followers have all the rights, privileges, and protection that being a part of His kingdom brings with it.
So, remembering where your from helps you to know where you are. You are right here. I am too! My membership dues have been paid for and will never expire. My spiritual family tree is much more gigantic and complex that any physical family tree can hope to me.
I really want His traits, His attitude, His influence. I might even be mistaken for Him from time to time. Wouldn't that be amazing! Know where you are today in time and space. Be reminded today what kind of family you are a part of.